It’s a fixture Leam Richardson felt Pompey would have surrendered as a late draw last season.
Yet the Blues’ assistant manager is convinced the team’s new-found mindset is proving the difference.
Gary Roberts’ 85th minute penalty put the visitors on track for victory at Exeter at the weekend.
Yet they had to negotiate five minutes of time added on and some testing pressure before securing a successive victory.
Last year at St James Park, Ollie Watkins netted in stoppage time to finish with a 1-1 draw.
This time around, however, there was no such heartbreak.
Assistant boss Richardson said: ‘The biggest positive for me was how the lads defended as a group, not just one or two, everybody put their neck on the line,
‘You see Michael Doyle throwing his body in front of things and when you do that you’ve always got a chance to win.
‘I felt last year we possibly might have conceded at the end.
‘The lads have a good mindset with the individuals and a collective unit, we can see games out. We are not all about attacking and flair and when we have to defend we can defend.
‘I read in the Exeter programme before the game that we have faced the fewest shots in the league, which is a great compliment to the manager and the lads for how we set up because we do put a lot of attacking players on the pitch.
‘You could see at the end Noel Hunt using his experience to hold the ball by the corner flag, he knows the game and that is exactly why he was brought into the club.
‘Conor Chaplin can learn a lot off that, a young kid might get into the corner, try to turn, beat the man and then lose it and the opposition go up the other end.
‘But it is about game management and I thought we managed the game very well in the end.’
Another player to impress in the victory which lifts Pompey into eighth spot was David Forde.
The veteran is pencilled in to miss the next two matches through Republic of Ireland duty.
And on Saturday he again stood firm late on.
Richardson added: ‘David also gives you that confidence, it’s great when you have a good keeper behind you collecting that ball.
‘He might miss one or two but that does give you that confidence with a settled back five to head your own balls when he is not able to come.
‘We try to make him as positive as possible, come and get things and help sort out mistakes.’
– NEIL ALLEN